Entries tagged as Moon

Century's longest total lunar eclipse and Mars

36-photo composite of the July 2018 total lunar eclipse and the trailing Mars (click for higher resolution)

Those living in Korea was able to see the second total lunar eclipse of the year, following the one in January 31. I had multiple reasons to watch this eclipse. There wasn’t going to be another total lunar eclipse visible in Korea for nearly three years (next one is on May 26, 2021). Also, Mars was just past the opposition, shining bright next to the Moon and forming an interesting celestial pair. Finally, the eclipse was billed as the longest in the century, including more than 103 minutes of totality.

Weather cooperated well, and I was able to both observe and record the progress without a hitch. The result is the composite photo above. It was the first time my newly acquired Sony SEL55210 lens was put to use for astrophotography and it performed adequately.

Celine witnesses her first lunar eclipse after waking up early

One minor disappointment was that the Moon was to set below the horizon during the middle of the totality. So I focused on watching it comfortably in the house with my daughter instead of trying to see through every moment. In fact, it was first such eclipse visible through the southerly window since 2011, enabling Celine to see the phenomenon for the first time. She was impressed with how the full Moon progressively got dimmer from the left corner, eventually becoming red from the Earth’s shadow. Next time, I hope I can show her the comeback part.

Device: Sony A5000 + SEL55210 (E 55–210 mm F4.5–6.3 OSS)
Settings: 55mm - ISO 100 - 1/500s to 5s - f/4.5
Filters: None
Time: 2018-07-28 01:12-04:40 KST
Location: Naju, Korea

Total lunar eclipse of 2018 (Super Blue Blood Moon)

25-photo composite of the 31 January 2018 total lunar eclipse (16% size)

The first total lunar eclipse of this year was an interesting one in that it was a so-called "Super Blue Blood Moon". The visible size is the largest, so it's a Supermoon. It's the second full Moon of the month, so it's a Blue Moon. The Moon hidden behind the Earth's shadow during the eclipse looks reddish, so it's a Blood Moon. This was the first such occurrence seen in Korea since December 1982, so it's not common.

The sky was pretty cloudy all the way to the late evening yesterday, so I had nearly given up on seeing it. But I was in luck and the clouds had started clearing up soon after the eclipse had started. So I hurriedly got my Sony camera and a tripod out to catch the event. It had only half a charge left, but I managed to photograph the progress for two hours, including the deepest point occurring around 22:29. I think it turned out fine - here's the composite photo showing the progress of the eclipse in 5-minute interval.

Device: Sony A5000 + SELP1650 (E PZ 16–50 mm F3.5–5.6 OSS)
Settings: 50mm - ISO 100 - 2s - f/5.6
Filters: None
Time: 2018-01-31 21:40-23:40 KST
Location: Naju, Korea
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Moon-Mars-Venus conjunction of 2017

Moon, Mars, and Venus line up in the western sky

As I dropped by Gwangju to catch a movie (I'll be posting a comic tomorrow), the western sky was adorned with an alignment of some of the bright bodies of the solar system as seen from the Earth - the Moon, Mars, and Venus. The occurrence was relatively well-publicized, but I forgot to carry a dedicated camera tonight. Luckily, the telephoto lens of the iPhone 7 Plus pulled through and I was able to capture this sight over the neighbourhood just before Venus dropped behind the buildings.

Device: iPhone 7 Plus
Settings: 56mm - ISO 1000 - 1/12s - f/2.8
Filters: None
Time: 2017-02-01 21:12 KST
Location: Gwangju, Korea
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Supermoon 2016 captured on iPhone 7 Plus

Supermoon on Nov. 15, 2016
Much has been talked about this year's so-called Supermoon owing to the fact that it's the largest since January 26, 1948 and won't be surpassed until November 25, 2034. Closest approach was made on 22:52 KST on November 14 at a distance of 356,509km, about 28,000km closer than average. The resulting difference is hardly noticeable to the naked eye, but is nevertheless a nice occasion to look at the Moon again. Sadly, heavy clouds hid the Moon entirely at that time, so I saw the Moon the next evening, about 20 hours later and used the telephoto lens on the iPhone 7 Plus to take a photo of it. This is perhaps the most detailed shot of the Moon taken using only an iPhone's native camera module.

Device: iPhone 7 Plus
Settings: 56mm - ISO 20 - 1/60s - f/2.8
Filters: None
Time: 2016-11-15 19:06 KST
Location: Naju, Korea
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ISS transits the Moon

ISS grazes the bottom of the Moon

Solar panels of the ISS become visible against the backdrop of the Moon
Yesterday evening presented a rare opportunity of viewing the sun-lit ISS whizzing by the Moon from where I live. Luckily, the weather cooperated and the sky was mostly clear of clouds. I initially set up a telescope to see it, but the apartment window was too limited for it to calibrate in time, so I fell back to using my SX50 HS's zoom capability instead.

A few minutes before the crossing, the space station started to appear on the western sky. So I told my daughter Celine to come over and see the phenomenon together; we watched it gracefully travel eastward. When I saw that the ISS was about to transit the Moon, I let the burst mode of the camera snap 10 photos in rapid succession at 13fps. Then, we kept watching the ISS until it disappeared into the eastern sky.

Checking the photos, I noticed that the dot the ISS was supposed to be was smaller than what was expected according to CalSky, which predicted the transit. Then I looked at the first photo where the Moon got behind the ISS, which showed a "shadow" much longer than the dot. This is when I realized that the dot was the central area of the space station and the shadow was its solar panels. The size mystery was solved.

For those of you who would like to see a full resolution composite of the ISS-Moon transit, [click here] to load the image. It's a bit sad I can't adjust the ISO setting while shooting in burst mode with the camera - I would've like to have it lowered for less coarse images.

Device: Canon SX50 HS
Settings: 1200mm - ISO 800 - 1/1000s - f/6.5
Filters: None
Time: 2015-04-24 19:56:49 KST
Location: Naju, Korea
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